It is understood Ofahengaue will get the green light to become Queensland’s 197th Origin player.
It is understood Ofahengaue will get the green light to become Queensland’s 197th Origin player.

Sneak peek at Maroons State of Origin I line-up

Maroons selectors met Queensland Rugby League headquarters tonight and gave the green light for Queensland's 197th Origin player to be named.

Maroons selectors met at 6pm Sunday at Queensland Rugby League headquarters and The Courier-Mail understands Joe Ofahengaue will get the green light to become Queensland's 197th Origin player.

The Broncos front-rower went within a whisker of making the team for Origin III last year and Queensland coach Kevin Walters believes Ofahengaue is ready for the code's toughest arena.

Ofahengaue has been a model of consistency for the Broncos this season, playing all 11 games so far this season. The 23-year-old has amassed an impressive 1397 metres at an average of 127m per game and was error-free in Brisbane's 8-2 defeat of the Warriors on Saturday night.

Ofahengaue is tipped to come off the bench to support starting middle men Josh Papalii, Jai Arrow and Josh McGuire.

It is believed the Maroons will name an extended squad tomorrow morning following recent injuries to key duo Daly Cherry-Evans and Jai Arrow in a move that could see the likes of Anthony Milford and Tim Glasby placed on the reserves list.

Milford scored the match-winner in Brisbane's disposal of the Warriors, but he could be edged out for the key interchange No.14 utility slot by Tigers skipper Moses Mbye.

The blooding of Ofahengaue would be a just reward for the 108kg front-rower, who has amassed 81 NRL games and has big-game experience, having played in the 2015 NRL grand final and the 2017 World Cup for Tonga.

Ofahengaue is eligible for next month's Tonga-New Zealand Test but is determined to chase his Queensland dream in Origin I at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week.

The Broncos workhorse recently told The Courier-Mail he would not let the Maroons down if given his big break.

"I want to play Origin," he said.

"If 'Kevvie' (Walters) gives me a go, I know I can back myself to do a job off the bench.

"I am doing it pretty much every week for the Broncos, I am familiar with that role off the bench.

"If I keep performing well, hopefully one day I can be there for Queensland and if the day comes, I will take it both hands."

Broncos teammate Tevita Pangai Jr has turned his back on Origin football to commit to Tonga but Ofahengaue has no plans to walk away from the Maroons.

"I know the rules and I know how it works. I can also play for Tonga and hopefully Queensland one day," he said.

"It would mean everything (to play Origin).

"I was born in New Zealand but I grew up in Queensland and everything revolved around the Maroons winning. They went on that record winning streak and guys like Darren Lockyer and Petero (Civoniceva) inspired me to want to wear the Queensland jersey one day."

In other selection news, Cherry-Evans will be named in the No.7 jumper tomorrow and is the favourite to also captain the side if he overcomes his ankle injury as expected.

Michael Morgan is tipped to start in the centres, although his Cowboys teammates Gavin Cooper and Matt Scott have been overlooked. Cowboys cohort and incumbent Maroon Coen Hess is expected to miss out.

LIKELY MAROONS TEAM: Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Will Chambers, Michael Morgan, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans (c), Jai Arrow, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Bench: Anthony Milford/Moses Mbye, Dylan Napa, Joe Ofahengaue, Jarrod Wallace.



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